Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ursula is not pleased

The Sci Fi channel just screened the miniseries Legend of Earthsea (on Dec 13 & 14, I believe), based on Ursula K. LeGuin's book and the news has not been pleasant. First, at One Ring, a commentary on the series had this paragraph:

But now the finished film has screened, and I've been getting emails from people whose opinions I respect saying things like 'I watched it and I was sick to my stomach after seven minutes.' I can't stand by and let it look as though TORN will recommend and promote any rubbish just because it's a well-known fantasy series.
Ouch! However, the sternest rebuke came from LeGuin herself, who was more than a little annoyed when the director of the flick claimed that he was true to the book and that he knew what Ursula's vision of the whole Earthsea universe was. LeGuin wrote a "reply" here.

Daphne and her husband, who have both read the Earthsea series (yes, you can guess I have not read it) said that the one thing they're annoyed with is that the cast was mostly white. As LeGuin says:
Most of the characters in my fantasy and far-future sf books are not white. They're mixed, they're rainbow ... This color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start. I didn't see why everybody in sf had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill. I didn't see why everybody in heroic fantasy had to be white (and all the leading women had "violet eyes"). I didn't even believe it ... Ged with a white face is a lie, a betrayal -- a betrayal of the book, and of the potential reader. A brown face might hurt sales in the short run, but my books are long-distance runners, and for the long haul, only the truth will serve.
Ah. The race issue.

I believe that many non-readers will still dig the Earthsea miniseries because of the fallout from Lord of the Rings. People are still hungry for fantasy after all. The powers that be chose to cash in on the craze, purity to the book be damned.


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